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Musk To Tesla Workers: Come Back To The Office Or ‘Pretend To Work Somewhere Else’

Tesla factory in Fremont, California

Tesla CEO Elon Musk told employees it is time to get busy working at the office or get busy finding a new job.

The billionaire has mandated that the automaker's nonfactory employees be in the office for a minimum of 40 hours per week "or depart Tesla," according to a Tuesday memo purportedly from Musk that has been republished widely on social media. 

"If there are particular exceptional contributors for whom this is impossible, I will review and approve those exceptions directly," the memo said. "Moreover, the 'office' must be a main Tesla office, not a remote branch unrelated to the job duties."

As of Wednesday morning, neither Telsa nor Musk had commented on the authenticity of the memo, though Musk did say on Twitter, in response to a question about the memo and employees who think in-person work is antiquated, "They should pretend to work somewhere else."

Companies are exhibiting a wide variety of return-to-office strategies, with about half of corporate leaders saying that their company already requires or plans to require full-time in-person work sometime this year, according to an early 2022 Microsoft survey.

Apple said it wanted employees to work from the office three days per week starting May 23, but the company has delayed that plan, according to Bloomberg. Google required most employees to work in corporate offices three days per week starting April 4, Reuters reported, but there has been some pushback against that.

Google workers say that the company's return-to-office plan doesn't apply evenly, with some employees spared from in-person work policies while others aren't in a seemingly arbitrary fashion, Protocol reports. They also mentioned difficult commutes and high gas prices as part of their objection to the plan.

Overall, office occupancy nationwide held steady in May at roughly 43% of pre-pandemic levels, according to the Kastle 10-city Back to Work Barometer. The absolute low for office occupancy was in April 2020, when it fell to 14.6%.